17 November 2005
Congress gives NASA a $260M budget boost
By John Kelly
Florida Today


Congress on Wednesday adopted a NASA budget that fully funds NASA's requests for the shuttle and space station programs as well as startup expenses for new rockets and ships [including nuclear]  for moon and Mars missions.

The budget, adopted by a 94-5 vote in the Senate, now goes to President Bush for his signature. The measure provides the space agency with $16.5 billion for fiscal year 2006, which began Oct. 1. That's $260 million more than the agency received in fiscal year 2005.

Included in the legislation is $270 million more for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission, nearly called off after the Columbia accident, is a popular goal for Congress, but it still faces technical and safety reviews by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.

The agency also got more than $3 billion the president requested to continue development of rockets and spaceships [including nuclear] needed to return humans to the moon. NASA hopes to land astronauts on the moon again by about 2018.

Griffin, upon learning of the vote, thanked Congress for supporting the ongoing transition at the space agency.

"We will work to ensure the President's exploration priorities are maintained as we move forward in setting program and investment priorities," he said in a statement following the vote.


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